At the beginning of the year, our Catholic Moms group made homeless bags together as a group. We each were assigned items to bring in and then on the big day we each made 4 bags: 2 to take to the local homeless shelter and 2 to put in our cars.
I finally had a chance to use one and guess what? I'm in the wrong car. So no homeless bags. Since H and I were on the way to McDonald's across the street I decide to get a Big Mac meal and some bottled waters for the homeless man with the sign on the corner that said "Jesus was Homeless". I also found some fig bars in my purse, along with some cash. So I make way back to where he was standing and to give it to him and he was leaving that corner, so I had to drive a bit crazy to get to him and roll down my window and yelled "hey brother" and then passed the bagged meal of goodies out the passenger window. He was so happy, smiling, and telling me "God Bless You" repeatedly. I ask him his name and he says "Charles", cars were backed up behind me as I was blocking the intersection at that point, so I holler "take care, I'm praying for you Charles" and drove off.
My 3 year old son who was in the car with me very curious about what had just happened. This is something I've never done before, so I had some explaining to do. He was asking tons of questions "who was that guy" "why did he say 'God bless you'" and "why did you give my food to him", so I start to explain that it looks like he doesn't have a home to live in (since his sign read "Jesus was Homeless"), he might not have a lot of food or water, family or friends, so we were being kind and helping him out. Henry then tells me with certainty that;
"He does have friends, cause he has a name. His name is Charles."
I lost it & started crying. I was only thinking about the things I was giving and my son reminded me that the real gift was connecting with another human that may have lost hope. One Ash Wednesday this year Pope Francis had a special message that goes along with this theme. “Each life that we encounter is a gift deserving acceptance, respect and love. The word of God helps us to open our eyes to welcome and love life, especially when it is weak and vulnerable.”
Pray for Charles.